Your nanny spends more hours at your home that she does at her own. She spends countless hours with your children. Your relationship seems great and you work hard to communicate effectively. Your nanny tells you everything, right? Wrong. Even nannies in the best of employment relationships have some things that they won’t share with their employers. Here are ten of them:
1. Respect trumps money.
More than money, your nanny wants to be treated with respect. She wants to know that you trust and value her, and consider her an important part of your children’s lives. Respect your nanny by paying her legally, giving her the appropriate time off, treating her with kindness and letting her know when she’s doing a great job. Avoid minimizing her role, talking down to her and demanding she take on responsibilities that you haven’t agreed to.
2. Monday mornings stink.
For nannies, there is hardly a thing worse than coming in Monday morning to a child who has totally regressed in potty training, or any other area, over the weekend. If you’ve agreed to potty train, take away the pacifier or move your child to his own sleep space, it’s important for everyone that you follow through. Oh, and those dirty dishes you left in the sink, your nanny hates those too.
3. Forgetting my paycheck is not okay.
To nannies, asking for a paycheck feels like asking for a favor. The big difference is that your nanny has worked hard to earn her paycheck. Be sure to deliver your nanny’s paycheck promptly each week. Or better yet, consider using a payroll service that supports direct deposit. Doing so will make the business side of employing a nanny easier for everyone.
4. I question your priorities.
When you tell your nanny you can barely afford her salary and then hire a high-end landscape company to install an irrigation system in the lawn, your nanny may wonder what’s more important: quality child care or green grass. When you complain that you miss your children and can’t wait to get home, then call her and tell her you’re going to be late because a friend invited you for dinner, she’s going to wonder what matters most.
5. I hate when you take advantage of me.
Most nannies are more than willing to take on additional tasks from time to time. If your nanny sees that something needs to be done, like that mound of your laundry, she’s even likely to do it without being asked. If these occasional gestures turn into daily expectations, your nanny will feel like you are taking advantage of her and will resent you for it.
6. Disrupting the kids schedule because you feel guilty isn’t right.
You’ve come home late and the kids are asleep. Because you didn’t get to say goodnight, you decide to wake them. They aren’t able to go back to sleep right away, don’t get a good night’s sleep, and the next day your nanny has to deal with the aftermath: extremely cranky, overtired and unsettled children. Before disrupting your children’s schedule or routine, ask yourself who really benefits. If it’s not your children, consider leaving things alone.
7. I have my own life and family.
Your nanny is not part of your family. She has a life and family outside of yours that she is committed to. When you call her last minute to tell her you’ll be late, chances are that affects her plans and her commitments. When you call her on the weekend to see if she’s free so you can get some shopping done, you’re interrupting her. While most nannies will always do what they can to assist you, it’s often at the expense of their own family and friends.
8. When you don’t back me up it gives your kid permission to treat me like crap.
When your toddler bites your nanny and you tell him it’s okay, or when your 8-year-old screams “She’s not my mother, I don’t need to listen to her” and you do nothing about it, you are sending the message that treating your nanny poorly is acceptable. By backing up your nanny, you send the message that she deserves respect.
9. If you don’t discipline your kids you’ll regret it.
Many parents wonder why their children behave better for the nanny. It’s usually because the nanny has adapted a non-emotional style of discipline and is willing and able to follow through, even when doing so is inconvenient or hard. Working parents often feel guilty about leaving their children, so when they are with them, they overindulge them and refuse to “be the bad guy.” The result is children who walk all over their parents and treat them with no respect.
10. Money doesn’t buy love.
All those prizes and toys you come home with mean little or nothing if they aren’t backed with real, genuine and unconditional love. Sometimes the kids want to snuggle with more than a teddy bear mom gave them. They want to snuggle with mom herself. Make time for your children. That’s what they want and that’s what they need most.